Cleveland, Ohio/Euclid Corridor Improvement Project

Printer Friendly Version


Euclid Corridor Improvement Project

Cleveland, Ohio

(November 1998)

Description

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA), in partnership with the City of Cleveland, is proposing to design and construct a 5.6-mile transit corridor incorporating exclusive bus rapid transit lanes and related capital improvements on Euclid Avenue from Public Square in downtown Cleveland, east to University Circle. The proposed project is known as the Euclid Corridor Improvement Project (ECIP). GCRTA also proposes that three stations along the existing Red Line (heavy rail) be relocated and three stations be renovated in order to spur economic development and improve access between the stations, surrounding neighborhoods, and employment centers. The total capital cost estimate for the ECIP is $327 million (escalated dollars).

The right-of-way on East 17th/East 18th Street from the Inner Belt to Lakeside Avenue will be reconfigured to facilitate traffic movement and increase accessibility to employment and retail centers in the Central Business District. The downtown area bounded by Superior Avenue, St. Clair Avenue, West 3rd Street and East 18th Street will be designated a "Transit Zone" to provide expanded and more visible bus operations and allow for convenient transfer between cross-town bus routes. New community-oriented bus services will also be implemented to serve the adjacent empowerment zone.

Summary Description

Proposed Project:

Bus Rapid Transit Lanes and related capital improvements

Total Capital Cost ($YOE):

$327 million

Section 5309 Share ($YOE):

$262 million

Annual Operating Cost:

Not reported at this time

Ridership Forecast (2015):

3,800 daily new riders

FY 2000 Financial Rating:

Medium

FY 2000 Project Justification Rating:

Low-Medium

FY 2000 Overall Project Rating:

Not Recommended

The overall project rating applies to this Annual New Starts Report and reflects conditions as of November 1998. Project evaluation is an ongoing process. As new starts projects proceed through development, the estimates of costs, benefits, and impacts are refined. The FTA ratings and recommendations will be updated to reflect new information, changing conditions, and refined financing plans.

Status

Section 3035 of ISTEA authorized FTA to enter into a multiyear grant agreement for development of the Dual Hub Corridor, originally considered as a rail link between downtown and University Circle. In November 1995, the GCRTA Board of Trustees selected the ECIP as the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA). The LPA is the Transportation Systems Management Alternative (TSM) focusing on various bus system improvements and selected rail elements.

In December 1995, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (local Metropolitan Planning Organization) adopted a resolution supporting the ECIP. In September 1996, FTA approved a grant for $4.02 million in Section 5309 New Starts funds. Of these funds, $2.82 million were used to initiate preliminary engineering (PE) on the ECIP. During PE, plans for the design and operation of the ECIP are being refined, environmental issues addressed, and the financing plan finalized. This work is scheduled for completion in February 1999.

Section 3030(a)(17) of TEA-21 authorized the "Euclid Corridor Extension" for final design and construction. Through FY 1999, Congress has appropriated $8.50 million in Section 5309 New Starts funds for the Euclid Corridor Improvement Project. Of this amount, $4.72 million was rescinded or reprogrammed by Congress.

Evaluation The following criteria have been estimated in conformance with FTA’s Technical Guidance on Section 5309 New Starts Criteria. Because the LPA for the ECIP served as the TSM for the proposed project, a comparison of the New Start (ECIP) to the TSM is not applicable. N/A indicates that data are not available for a specific measure.

Justification

Mobility Improvements

Rating: Low

The ECIP is estimated to increase transit travel by 3,800 daily new transit trips over the No-Build Alternative (a 2.5 percent increase). GCRTA estimates the following annual travel time savings for the ECIP:

 

Mobility Improvements

New Start vs.

No-Build

New Start vs. TSM

Annual Travel Time Savings (Hours)

0.2 million

N/A

Based on 1990 census data, there are an estimated 12,406 low-income households within a ½ mile radius of the 22 proposed stations. This represents 65 percent of the total households within a ½ mile radius of the proposed stations.

Environmental Benefits

Rating: Low

Cleveland is currently classified as a maintenance nonattainment area for ozone and a moderate nonattainment area for particulate matter (PM10). GCRTA estimates the following emissions increases for the ECIP as compared to the No-Build alternative.

 

Criteria Pollutant

New Start vs.

No-Build

New Start vs. TSM

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

[16]

N/A

Nitrogen Oxide (NOx)

[5]

N/A

Hydrocarbons (HC)

[4]

N/A

Particulate Matter (PM10)

N/A

N/A

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

[717]

N/A

Values reflect annual tons of emissions reductions. Values in [ ] represent an increase in emissions.

GCRTA estimates that the ECIP will result in the following increase in regional energy consumption (measured in British Thermal Units – BTUs) compared to the No-Build Alternative.

 

Annual Energy Savings

New Start vs. No-Build

New Start vs. TSM

BTU (million)

[23,458]

N/A

Values reflect annual BTU reductions. Values in [] represent an increase in BTUs.

Operating Efficiencies

Rating: Medium

GCRTA estimates the following systemwide operating costs per passenger mile in the year 2015 for the New Start compared to the No-Build:

 

No-Build

TSM

New Start

System Operating Cost per Passenger Mile (YOE)

$0.63

N/A

$0.63

Values reflect 2015 ridership forecast and escalated dollars.

Cost Effectiveness

Rating: Low

GCRTA estimates the following cost effectiveness indices:

 

New Start vs.

No-Build

New Start vs.

TSM

Incremental Cost per Incremental Passenger

$48.33

N/A

Values reflect 2015 ridership forecast and escalated dollars.

Transit-Supportive Existing Land Use and Future Patterns

Rating: Medium-High

The Medium-High land use rating reflects both the transit-supportive parking policies currently in place in the Cleveland Central Business District (CBD) and the high trip generator characteristics of the corridor. The proposed Euclid Corridor Improvement Project serves two major activity centers: 1) the Cleveland CBD, characterized by commercial/office, retail, and institutional uses; and 2) the University Circle area to the east, which includes educational, cultural, and medical facilities. The City of Cleveland’s Midtown area, located between these two anchor areas, is an Empowerment Zone, with marginal commercial/retail and industrial establishments and abandoned industrial sites and nearby areas of multi-family and single-family housing. Population and employment in these areas have increased since 1990 and are forecast to continue, increasing at a faster rate than for the metropolitan area as a whole. The City has undertaken a number of planning activities and redevelopment programs to achieve infill and redevelopment in the CBD and corridor. There is a strong network of public agencies, business associations, and development corporations that promote and provide mechanisms for commercial and residential redevelopment. Some redevelopment activities have taken place within the Euclid Corridor as a result of these organizations and programs.

Parking management strategies are currently in place in the CBD. The City of Cleveland recognizes that current zoning for the ECIP is unsupportive of increased transit ridership and has indicated that zoning codes will be revised in the near future to support increased transit patronage.

Other Factors

ECIP as an Economic Development Generator: At least three major redevelopment projects in the downtown area have recently been undertaken with a strong orientation toward existing rail and bus transit. In addition, the ECIP is investigating joint development opportunities for a proposed downtown transit center, while simultaneously working with a private corporation to identify development opportunities in the Cleveland metropolitan area.

Brownfields: Cuyahoga County, which includes the Cleveland metropolitan area, initiated the first U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-funded Brownfields Pilot Project program in the nation in 1993 and has continued to implement a "comprehensive strategy to redevelop Brownfields." The Ohio State legislature has streamlined regulations for Brownfields redevelopment, and the County has established a $20 million revolving loan program. The County received an EPA grant in 1997 to assess properties in the Cleveland MidTown area. More than 100 properties have been preliminarily assessed for their environmental condition as a baseline for determining their potential for redevelopment.

Local Financial Commitment

Proposed Non-Section 5309 Share of Total Project Costs: 20%

GCRTA proposes an 80 percent Federal share of $262 million in Section 5309 New Starts funds, and $65 million (20 percent) in local funds. Since the FY 1999 New Starts Report, total estimated capital costs have decreased by $6 million (2 percent).

Stability and Reliability of Capital Financing Plan

Rating: Medium

The Medium capital plan rating reflects GCRTA’s ability to finance and construct the proposed project while also noting that specific funding sources and commitments have not been finalized to date. The GCRTA has successfully completed a number of capital projects over the last few years and demonstrates the financial and management capabilities to carryout its program. GCRTA anticipates receiving at least $37 million from dedicated sales tax revenues for the proposed Euclid Corridor Improvement Project. These funds, which represent an existing source, are eligible for both operations and capital expenditures. This is considered a modest amount given the agency’s planned $1.3 billion capital budget for the next twenty years. In 1998, the State of Ohio’s Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) approved $70 million in funding for the proposed project. The GCRTA, the State, and the City of Cleveland are in the process of determining how these funds will be used for this project. An additional source of funding is expected to come from the State Infrastructure Bank Program. Funding from this source would be used for viaduct improvements and financial management activities. In addition, GCRTA anticipates funding several proposed transit centers with $32 million in projected revenue generated by parking and lease agreements with Cleveland’s private sector. An economic analysis is currently underway to determine the revenue flow from the proposed transit centers. If, as a result of the study, GCRTA must reduce the amount of funding from this source, the agency has indicated that it will make up the shortfall using sales tax revenues.

Stability and Reliability of Operating Finance Plan

Rating: Medium

The Medium operating plan rating reflects the positive financial structure of GCRTA’s current operations and the availability of existing resources to assist with potential operating funding deficits. However, specific operating requirements and funding commitments have not been finalized to date. The GCRTA has managed to fully fund the operations of its existing system during a period of expansion. In 1997, ridership increased by 4% over 1996. Both bus and rail ridership increased for the first time since 1990. A major reason for the increased ridership can be attributed to special events in downtown Cleveland and a generally improved economy. The regional economy has experienced moderate growth that has generated sufficient sales tax revenues to cover operations and expansion costs. In addition, GCRTA is developing new strategies to attract and retain ridership including new services such as the Waterfront Line light rail line (which opened in 1996), increased numbers of Community Circulator routes (which use small buses to serve specific communities), station renovations, and service promotions.

 

Locally Proposed Financing Plan
(Reported in $YOE)

 

Proposed Source of Funds

Total Funding ($million)

 

Appropriations to Date

Federal:    
  Section 5309 New Starts

$262.00

($8.50 million appropriated through FY 1999).
State and Local:

$65.00

 
 

TOTAL

$327.00

 
NOTE: Funding proposal reflects assumptions made by project sponsors, and are not DOT or FTA assumptions. Totals may not add due to rounding.

MAP